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leave these conventions. >> i think this has be a good convention so far for the democrats. i expect barack obama will have a good speech thursday night. the country is evenly divided.
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stronger democratic candidate. maybe a slight edge to obama that way until november 6. i want to pick up on what john said. model of 1996 is an interesting one. i think it was a different republican party even than it was 16 years ago which complicates the matter the on obama's part if he should be re-elected, he has to reach out more. roosevelt had he was re-elected in 1940, granted he was going into a war, brought republicans into that cabinet. he have has got to put together a cabinet base of the democratic party is going to be a little bit edgy about. >> charlie:why didn't he do that in the first term, john. >> he made some choices. he kept gaits in secretary of defense for. >> charlie:he pt. >> he tried to get jed greg. >> secretary of the army was republican. he tried to do that. he tried to get jud greg.
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i don't know if ron is still taking credit for that. >> a thousand feet fathers --sk. i think he tried -- he tried to put together balance in the cabinet. i think one of the things that happened with the result of the -- some people kind of falling by the wayside during the course of the con fir may go process was we did end up people with not strong business experience in the cabinet. and i think he's tried to rectify that. >> charlie:that was a no-brainer at the time. >> a no-brainer to do that? >> charlie:yeah. >> i think he was looking for the best people who could solve what was really. >> charlie:he has such a resounding victory and a whole range of people could have chosen. he knew a lot of people well judged in the business
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community. >> yeah. >> charlie:so -- >> lousy transiks director. >> i blame it all on that.charlu have and your experience as transition director, what would you do differently? >> well, i think that when we were preparing for the transition, we ksh and i think really if you look at it from the outgoing administration's perspective as well, in the early part of that process, the focus was on to some extent the transition with wars in iraq and afghanistan. we quickly got on to the economy. the process of building the work for building the recovery act was monumental and it occurred quite rapidly and i think the one question that i still wrestle with in my mind is, did
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-- we were in the process of doing a lot of different things and the repeat idaholy with which the recovery act went through and sort of getting away from it i think didn't really help educate the public about what they were likely to experience and what the story line and narrative was. so we kind of -- the administration kind of moved on quickly to other priorities which we had prepared in the administration particularly the health care. in retrospect we didn't have good answers to the housing crisis and we didn't stay on that economic argument about job creation long enough really. >> charlie:back in a moment. stay with us krsmght we continuel analysis. john harris of politico and jeff
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disel any of the new york times. i'm meesed to of them here. where are we in terms of democratic party having a remarkable speech by the first lady and also mayor castro, bill clinton will speak tonight before we do this. we can expect him to do what he always does, to lay out the choices and make the case for barack obama and tomorrow night the president speaks. someone said today if the rest of this convention as successful as the first lady's speech, the democrats come out of this on the march. >> that make sense to you? >> it does within limits. let's face it, there's really only two speeches sat these conventions that matter a lot, the nominee speeches. keynote addresses are useful. bill clinton is going to be entertaining probably helpful in making the kales. this is obama's convention. i do think it has been effective
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tort democrats they are only giving their answer to the charge we have been heard again and again speakers in tam tampa. president obama gaf you didn't build t his point was everybody we built this together any successful person is successful because it's in the context of opportunity. republicans hammered him on that. i think what we're hearing from the first lady, from mayor castro. we're going to hear it from bill clinton they're answer. we believe in success, we also believe in prosperity, we are in favor of everybody getting rich but rerve has to together krrchght someone that was in the first lady's speech, if we are lucky and successful by hard work -- >> all these have been out there have been more owe fecttive than
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president obama often is in making this case. i think he often falls into language that sets him up for this character that really he is hostile to free enterprise, not in favor of success or people having the opportunity to get rich. that's a widespread belief in the republican party, widespread belief of many businessment those who backed him in 2008. bill clinton never really faced that. he had a different language a-different way of making arguments that allowed him to favor progressive policies but not be seen as hostile to private success. >> charlie:why do you think that is, jim, if you agree with it. >> i'm not sure he's hostiles''s perfect soafd. if you talk to business people even those who supported him in 2008 and there is a long roster of people who gave money to him, inspired by him in 208 now are
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not with him, they think his background does not have anything in it that comes from the entrepreneurial side. he's largely been in the academic world and government world. i'm not sure he is as antibusiness but allowed himself to be branded like that. one thing that's interesting about former president bill clinton i think john is absolutely right. he just has never had to face anything like that. he's able to -- his argument about the middle class is probably going to be the most effective sales pitch that this president can use for the next 60 days. if he was ahead or if he was sort of comfortable in this race, i don't think we would see bill clinton in such a marqued position. his argument he says it better than anyone else and aagree with john also. i think the first lady's speech was tw good as any like that could be. the hall absolutely loved t i think the president's speech on
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thursday night is really the only one that matters here. something would have to go terribly wrong with president clintons for it. >> charlie:what are the obama people including the president and his campaign staff in chicago worried about? what is their fear at the end of the day? >> i think they're worried about what's going to happen friday morning. 9 hours after he finishes giving his acceptance speech, the latest job report comes out. there are things outside their immediate control that's one of them the three jobs reports that come out before election day. they're worried about the economy getting away from them and them not being able to keep this race stable. their main plan from here to the next 60 days is to cope things as stable as possible, keep hammering mitt romney on trying to win over this middle class argument. but if there's bad jobs report no. on friday, if things get
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worse in that respect, gas prices go up, these things out of the president's control that's a problem. if that race turns psychologically and mitt romney gets in the driver's seat it will be hard to get back krrchlt how would you define what the choice the voters want to make. >> i think what voters who are unhappy with things right now are trying to think -- all the voter interviews we do they're not sure how big of a risk they want to take. they sort of know what president oa bama means for them and has done for them but they're not sure if they want to take a leap over to someone new, starting all over again at this. the obama. >> charlie:bird in hand thing. >> right the obama campaign would say that's risky. the romney would s not risky at all. if taw talk range of motion nim advise rors the convention last week was improving the connection with voters making
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him look for how many an real. now they have to go the next step and say what he would do. john is right. it's to fire him, hire him. i think everyone got the fire part. the hire part is still in progress. >> charlie:they couldn't do it at their convention because they had to humanize him, they had to introduce him, which is remarkable because you saw that very good biography film of him which many people said should have been on the air a long time ago. >> right. >> charlie:that whole convention was more about him except for ryan's speech, introducing him -- >> i thought it was surprising omissioning, it's not my job to say whether it's a missed opportunity or not, there was not much policy -- >> charlie:is this election row mind you of any other? is it 2004? >> it's either 1980 or 2004. >> charlie:80 would be reagan. >> in many ways it's different
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than 2004 because national security is something we have not heard anything about. that's one of the things that's the most strike to go me. we're still not that far after 9-11 and it was absent from the republican convention. you can say if governor romney should have mentioned in his speech. beside that, it's not being discussed. if president obama wins, i think it looks like 2004. if he loses it locks like 1980. >> charlie:2004 was about towrnout. >> it was bush campaign maximummed their turn outeverywhere. similar strains obama is trying do organizing early states like ohio maximize and find new voters. 204 -- the ways. expand their voting pool over 2000. a lot of their supporters didn't show up. this is exactly about expanding
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the base. that's why you see so much voter registration going on. they're trying to draw new voters on to the obama side, african americans, latinos. they're trying to make it like 2004. >> charlie:the romney people think they can minimize where the levels of women for obama is today? >> i don't think that they feel they can change that a lot but i do think -- this election isn't about moving large numbers of voters. >> charlie:is that where they think they have to change it? >> i think it is. they feel and i think the obama people wouldn't argue with this that the critical group of older white men are simply lost to obama. >> to romney. >> older white men. >> lost to the president. >> by the president. >> wives and daughters are willing still to entertain a vote for the president.
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>> charlie:i would assume the president would talk about foreign policy, wouldn't you. >> i would be stunned if he didn't. >> charlie:me too. not oam because of the contrast but they believe they are run ong a record of success. >> he's the president of the united states. i think it would be irresponsible not to. >> i think it was shocking omission for romney. i thought fred hide's column in washington post was right on. we have a hot war going on right now in the month of august. i think close to 60 people, 60 americans died in afghanistan. >> charlie:did they have an explanation for that? >> the oam explanation he talked about it the day before in a speech in minneapolis. no one saw t most reporters didn't see. >> charlie:someone said one mention of afghanistan. >> i think that's right. it's not a popular topic even in that room con vengs with these delegates.
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spending is such a concern. too much money isn't spent on the war. it wouldn't have been a upon lar thing. i still think he could have thanked the troops for their service. that's not controversial. that's a patriotic thing to do. i think it's one of those mysteries of the convention almost as mysterious as clint eastwood he's the only one that mentioned afghanistan on that final evening. >> charlie:how does that the obama team feel about rekindling of 2008. i heard we don't expect to weunder stand. it's much tougher race than 208 and they had a lot of things going for them in 208 they don't have in 2012 including the tenure in office. do they believe somehow they will be able to come out of this convention with a bit of a remembrance of that? >> i think jeff put it well, or
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phrase you used remembrance, oh yeah i remember why i like this guy. i don't think they're overly obsessed with rekindling 2008. last couple of years there was internal dea bait and disagreement within the obama camp. how do we preserve obama brand. are we doing things that might ris it by being negative or super pac money those debates are put to rest. forget about the obama brand. do what'sness necessary to rin. a. >> a point we're make inning political, when you come to permanent attacks both campaigns responsible for negativity of the campaign. both equally to blame. when you talk about personal criticisms, basically trying to tear down the viability of the other candidate in the way that
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george w. bush inventory down john kerry's credibility, really it's pretty one one sided. the obama campaign does much more than that than the romney campaign. >> charlie:successfully? >> i think fair suck set. >> charlie:primarily bain capital. >> bain capital with romney's. >> charlie:the theme i saw so much coming out of the speeches so far is that he's not like you. >> well he's not seen dramatically in the polls, 20 percent gap. krrchlt he doesn't care about you. he's not of you have. he doesn't understand you. that's the thing they hammer. >> it's a wide gap. if thre a hammering at it that means it's getting traction. >> try to close in tampa and i think we will see you in the polls next few weeks or so what success they have had. >> i think they're trying niek people por frightened about the
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prospect of romney presidency. some months ago democrats and he wouldn't do anything dramatic. trying to scare people in the sense he wouldn't have your back, economic interest at heart. i was struck on the first night of the convention of the relentless attacks on his wealth. almost in every speech that was sort of a subtext. class warfare to a high tee gree. >> charlie:even though welt thy democrats on the stage. >> figment in the sky boxes. >> if you ask what the obama people are afraid of. i've been struck what they're not afraid of. issues that obama and democrats used to treat very defensively like an unexploded bomb. tossing the bomb back and forth. doesn't bother tomorrow talk openly for equal rights.
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several speeches have mentioned. abortion issues used to be very under the table. they have been very explicit in saying one of t dividing lines is willingness to fight for women's reproductive rights. >> charlie:because they think those issues their time as come? >> i'm not sure it's that or the election is so divided and really the question of this election is, which side are you on? on the side of people like us or people like them? >> but democrats used to think they succeeded by sort of blurring those lines. that's what bill clinton did effectively. >> even barack obama. >> in 2008. this is not a 2008 style election but 2004, which side are you on. >> charlie:can you make an argument that they have a very different idea of where america is and where it's going, that the president believes and his
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team when they look at the reality of america today the increasing numbers of hispanics, increasing, the demographic picture of america, it's on their side? >> they think that. >> and a lot republicans. a lot of smartest republicans extra teejist not this one but long term worry about that. >> charlie:republican party ends up a party of reflection of white america essentially. >> older whiter male america. you cannot put together a long-term winning party on that coalition. >> and mathematically they're right about that. >> charlie:i may have said this to you john, if ronald reagan was running and got the same percentages of hispanics and african americans asians perhaps he would lose because they have grown so significantly. >> we have to be careful saying things like that one reason
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politics is interesting all of us, nothing stands still. new politicians, come forward. arguments get made issues rise to the surface. i don't think the republicans are in for a long-term too many. i grew up covering virginia. the idea virginia would be a swing state is stunning to me. the idea north carolina is swing state is surprising to even to you, charlie. there are no permanent line ntion politics. i think it's mistake feem in our business things as they exist now and extrapolate them too far in the future. >> charlie:is your interest and excitement you get from politics every bit as strong as it's always been? >> it is in the big picture. i think the character tion. people who are in politics, people i covered closely like bill clinton, the other characters that's what makings this business fascinating. so i still love that. i do
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think -- i share the view of a lot of journalist this particular campaign has been a grinding sullen remorseless affair not been a lot of fun. >> i think that's right. i think there's not been a lot of joy in this campaign on either side and the voters seem disgusted by t it is a dynamic story and we don't know the full story and full evolution of barack obama. who would have thought he would have asked bill clinton to come prop him up. that shows you. >> only point i would make, charlie the purpose of it is not to give joy to reporters. we have a serious business. politics is get rg small and petty we have some power to elevate that and focus on what we think is important. >> charlie:are we doing that? >> we're not doing as well -- you push the rock up the hill. >> charlie:thank you, yon thank you i didn't have.
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thank you for joining us see you next time captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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